“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” – Proverbs 31:8-9
It’s been almost a year since Russia launched a violent invasion of Ukraine. Since then, the true atrocities of Putin’s war have come to light through the photos and videos taken by journalists and those shot on the phones of everyday people just trying to survive.
When the Russian invasion started, it was hard to ignore the reality of the war crimes taking place in Ukraine. We saw photos of civilians lying dead on the streets of Bucha with their hands tied behind their backs … the bombed-out skeleton of a maternity ward in Mariupol … and body bags piled up beside mass graves.
A year ago, these horrific images were plastered all over social media and the news. But with time, they’ve faded into the background. And this, I believe, is what Russian president Vladimir Putin is counting on.
Putin is waiting for us to grow apathetic toward seeing dead Ukrainians on our screens — or waiting for us to stop seeing them altogether. He’s waiting for us to stop caring.
But right now, Ukrainians desperately need us not to grow weary of this war and forget about them.
What is Russia’s strategy?
Displaced Ukrainians have spent almost a year living in fear of Russian attacks
Russia has the resources to drag this war out for another year or more in its attempt to take over all of Ukraine. They’ve made it clear that compromise is not an option. They won’t settle for part of Ukraine. Putin won’t let failure hurt his pride. And he knows that as time goes on, the more fatigued the West will become.
When Russia first invaded on Feb. 24, 2022, the West came together to stand with Ukraine in an overwhelming show of united support rarely seen in our polarized world.
People in places like the U.S., Great Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Poland, and many others took to the streets to protest the war. Individuals and businesses alike flooded social media with their support for Ukraine. Church families came together in fervent prayer. And “How to help Ukrainian refugees” became a top-trending internet search.
But we’ve all seen how the surge of media interest and support at the beginning of a crisis fades over time. When something like a deadly earthquake in Haiti or the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has been in the news for a few weeks, people tend to lose interest.
It becomes “old news.”
Putin is banking on the same thing happening with Ukraine. If he can just wait long enough, people will stop engaging with the few remaining headlines. Donors will stop giving to help refugees. Ukraine will no longer be trending on social media.
In other words, things will go back to normal for everyone except those whose lives have been uprooted by violence and tragedy. For them, nothing will ever be normal again.
What happens if we stop caring?
Now is not the time to forget about Ukrainian refugees
Ukrainians will be even more vulnerable when the West stops caring, loses awareness, and stops helping. If that happens, Putin’s ultimate goal of taking over Ukraine without being held accountable for his crimes becomes that much easier.
And the truth is, he’s seen our track record. He’s seen how our outrage at the Taliban’s treatment of women eventually turned into a dull roar. He’s seen human rights violations in China move off the front page. He’s seen the funding dry up again and again for disaster victims who still have a long road to recovery.
We can’t let that happen. And as followers of Christ, it’s even more critical that we remember those who are suffering. Every refugee is loved by God and created in His image. The Lord will never stop caring about His children, and as His ambassadors on Earth, we can’t either.
Proverbs 28:27 is very clear about this. It says, “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.”
This is just one example of dozens of Scriptures that call us to help people in need, and guess what? None of them say “help one time and move on” or “help until it’s not trending anymore.”
We can’t close our eyes to what’s happening in Ukraine. Not now, not ever.
What can you do?
Refugees struggling to survive need someone like you to provide help and hope
If it’s human nature to lose interest, how can we keep apathy from setting in?
The first thing you can do is pray. Pray that God would break your heart over what breaks His. Pray that God will continue to burden your heart for people in need.
The Lord can move in this crisis, and He moves through His people. He can use any of us to make a difference in Ukraine, but we must be open and receptive to His voice.
Secondly, listen. Listen to refugees’ stories. Take action any way you can, whether that means sharing a post to raise awareness, volunteering to pack boxes of aid being sent to Ukraine, or donating financially to help refugees. And continue doing these things for as long as it takes.
And finally, give. It’s been a year, but Ukrainian refugees are facing many of the same struggles they faced on day one. They desperately need food, shelter, warm clothing, and more to survive this war.
These needs aren’t going away anytime soon; if anything, as people lose interest and fewer people give, they become even more urgent.
For just $35, you can provide a week’s worth of emergency supplies like food, warm clothing, medicine, and more for a refugee in Ukraine or another war-torn country. Your generosity will be a lifeline for a refugee fighting for their life … and it will also demonstrate the love of Christ to someone fearing the world has forgotten them.
We can’t be part of Putin’s strategy of Western fatigue. If we truly want to #StandWithUkraine, we need to be more than a hashtag. We need to be in this for the long haul — so please give as generously as you can today.